Healthy living is all the emphasized concept on today; from daily lifestyle and habits to incorporating a flexible and realistic exercise regimen and not forgetting about the food and drinks that we consume into our system. It is no wonder many entrepreneurs are adopting this concept of promoting healthy living into their businesses; as we see the word 'healthy' appearing in almost every advertisement; from clothing to shoes, home appliances and food. Be it processed food to little stalls/vendors, and even restaurants, there is no end to the continuous focus on this theme setting out to woo their health-conscious customers or maybe, to even convert the avid average joes and janes to embrace the healthy living concept.
One of such business to reap the benefits is that of the vegetarian restaurants, or food in general. What was once shunned as tasteless or uninteresting is now taking a new face; as creative business owners are injecting fresh colors in innovating the flavors of their menu. Compared to its understated heydays, vegetarian food are no longer the food reserved for religious reasons (the Chinese typically observe a vegetarian diet on the first and 15th of the Lunar Calendar). Many have discovered the benefits of going vegan and are starting to incorporate it into their daily lifestyle and the creativity infused into the menu offered by many restaurants have made it easier for the converts and vegetarian food are no longer treated as abstinence food as many can now enjoy the various flavors and yet maintain the health benefits of the vegetarian food.
I am no stranger to the concept of vegetarian, and I must admit that I am rather taken by the creativity spurted by most of our vegetarian cuisines in our region; and proudly, I dare say that Malaysia is probably one of the best places for vegans to enjoy the exotic and daring flavors cleverly spun by our budding vegetarian chefs here. Trust me, you will not find the varieties and vegetarian food which are so interesting that you may forget they are vegan-based. (There is an ongoing debate on whether this is the right concept to promote on vegetarian food, but that is another topic altogether).
Simple Life Vegetarian Food was a fast growing vegetarian chain of restaurants opening in malls and had quickly garnered a crowd of ardent fans with its claim on the healthy food they are serving. While the variety is not of a textbook, the simple menu did promise a rather modest variety to satisfy the diversity of templates out there. I chanced upon this restaurant as I was out with my family, and as my parents had been wanting to try this place out upon noticing crowds at this restaurant, it was then the venue for dinner that very instant.
(After all, it is never easy deciding on the place to dine and once there is an option, stick to it, don't you think?)
Nasi Lemak (MYR13.90)
A modest set of fragrant rice served with radish soup, crackers, sambal, cucumber, acar, vegan rendang mutton, a slice of watermelon and sunny side up.
An actual egg served as a vegetarian dish - I was told that long-term vegetarians are allowed to consume dairy products and eggs as their main source of protein.
Claypot Kung Pow Lion's Mane Mushroom (MYR18.90) - I can't remember if this was the actual name/price of this set
Mee Hoon Kueh in Organic Black Bean Soup (MYR12.90)
Organic Brown rice is served in their set meals.
Vegetarian Assam Fish Set (MYR18.90)
The vegetarian assam fish
We tried some of their desserts which were just enticing to miss.
Organic Seven Color Beans (MYR5.90)
Longan Coral Seaweed (MYR5.90)
Overall food was not too bad although I find the servings rather small given the price tag.
Prices can be a little steep compared to the other vegetarian outlets as well.
It pays to be healthy...who said vegetarian food comes cheap?
While many may compare the vegetarian food with its many mock attempts at meat, seafood and finding it less worth of its value due to its vegetable origins (soy, wheat, etc), however, vegetarian food are often valued at the craftsmanship in the presentation and in tempting the usual meat lovers.
Vegetarian food has definitely rose in its popularity and is also reaching the heights of being fashioned as a delicacy to be served in fine dining cuisine. Yes, there are also vegetarian fine dining - hopefully I can share on that once I get around to trying the fine dining version of vegetarian food?
Worth is in the eyes of the beholder, and vegan being perceived as abstinence food is definitely a thing in the past.
Time to look at vegetarian food in a whole new perspective, folks.... :-)